Public Safety Sgt. Wayne Wilson, foreground, joins other local peace officers in filling his plate with bratwurst and potato salad Wednesday during a National First Responders Appreciation Day luncheon hosted by Bank Midwest at its downtown Maryville location.


Patrol cars lined the curb in front of the Bank Midwest branch in downtown Maryville around noon on Wednesday.

But there was no emergency, and no alarms were sounding.

Instead, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and members of other unformed agencies were seated around tables in the bank’s spacious lobby enjoying a casual lunch.

The meal, provided by the bank, was offered in thanks from a grateful community on National First Responders Appreciation Day, an annual awareness initiative celebrated by an increasing number of communities since the movement’s founding in Colorado about 10 years ago.

From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., peace officers, firefighters, ambulance workers, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers and office staff from various first-responder agencies were welcome to stop by the bank for a complimentary lunch consisting of bratwurst, potato salad, chips, cookies and iced tea.

“We just wanted to honor our local first responders, and let them know we appreciate their service,” said Bank Midwest’s Haley Ridge, who helped organize the event.

“It’s great,” said Sgt. Wayne Wilson of Maryville Public Safety. “It’s good to feel that we are wanted and needed in the community — not just police officers, but all first responders. It’s nice to get the recognition.”

Wilson added that the fresh-cooked brats were “delicious.”

Also on hand for the meal were Sheriff Randy Strong and a number of deputies and staff from the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s good for us to get out and mingle with the public,” Strong said, “and we are grateful for the show of appreciation. That’s good for all of us.

“I think we’re fortunate to live in a community where officers and other first responders are appreciated.”

Missouri is one of a 25 states that have officially designated Sept. 27 as First Responder Appreciation Day.

The others include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.


By Tony Brown | Daily Forum